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This article explores the dissemination of globalised popular culture forms into the “white culture” of colonial Thursday Island (henceforth TI), the administrative centre of Torres Strait in northern Queensland. The analysis draws on a variety of media sources from approximately 1881 to 1906. It is grounded in an historical understanding of Torres Strait as a place of cultural convergence and also a society affected profoundly by the transnational flows and connections of popular culture forms, such as music, used in part to popularise British Imperialism (MacKenzie, 1992). Both “high” and “low” culture are examined to illustrate how British and North American cultural values and institutions helped create hybrid forms which contained aspects of the two main lineages of Australian popular culture, as explored by Whiteoak (2001; 1999; 1993), Waterhouse (1995), Johnson (1987), and Bisset (1979). Our goal in this article, and other on-going research, is to appreciate TI as the hub of this process for Torres Strait.
Eleanor Dark's years in Montville represent an unusual moment in the history of Queensland literature: it was one of the rare instances, until recent times, of an established professional writer moving to Queensland and pursuing her career in a small rural community. Since the 1980s, the Sunshine Coast and its hinterland have become something of a mecca for writers. None of the later arrivals, however, has pursued Dark's project of viewing the wider world from the hinterland. In Lantana Lane she intertwines meticulous observation of local life, in which she participated as a farmer, with wider cultural and political concerns. She transforms the apparently inauspicious location of the hinterland into a vantage point from which to reflect on modes of production, from the agricultural to the literary.
This paper compares the literary careers of two Irish immigrant-poets who lived and wrote for a significant part of their lives in nineteenth-century Brisbane, using the comparison to explore some of the different ways in which Irish literary tradition could reinvent itself in a new physical and cultural environment. Early Brisbane is not an especially fertile field for the study of Irish-Australian literary writing, perhaps surprisingly, given the strong Irish presence in Brisbane society during the first half of the twentieth century. One explanation may be that whereas the Irish had a strong presence in the military and the labouring classes in the Moreton Bay Colony, the institutions of government, public education and the press — the chief nurseries of Culture in most settler societies — were dominated by the English and Scottish.
Stories, anecdotes, and descriptive articles were the earliest publications, following the main wave of colonisation in the 1860s, to bring Queensland north and west of Proserpine to the attention of the national and international community. Such publications were also the main vehicle of an internal mythology: they shaped the identity of the inhabitants, diversified following settlement, and their sense of the region. The late date of settlement compared with south-eastern Australia meant that frontier experience continued both as a lived reality and as mythology well into the twentieth century. The self-containment of the region as actual and exemplary frontier was breached only with the arrival of television and university culture in the 1950s and 1960s.
Literature written for children and adolescents still has not been treated with due seriousness by standard Australian literary histories and companions. This is despite a growing number of critics over the last two decades who have pointed out how much of the genre is ‘good literature’ which can withstand any critical scrutiny. Whatever its conventional literary merits, writing for children and young adults is a major industry and an important cultural practice that requires as much attention as adult literature. Of particular interest is the relationship between children's reading and the reproduction of social attitudes and behaviour.
It has become a commonplace to note that women writers in Australia have historically produced their work in a literary and social context that has largely been regarded as a male domain. Second wave feminism in the wake of the counter-cultural movements of the sixties and seventies, together with the developments in poststructuralist theories have contested this privileged intellectual space and triggered new ways of looking at literary history, the relations between production and consumption, and the significance of gender, race and class in literary analysis (Ferrier 1992:1). This chapter deals with a number of texts written by Queensland women in the latter part of the twentieth century, and thus is concerned principally with the many ‘configurations of female subjectivity’ (Ferrier 1998:210) and self-definition that Elaine Showalter saw as belonging to the third phase of women's writing. However as this is a chapter about women writers writing in and about Queensland, it will also be interested in narrative representations of women's experiences of the local place and culture, in which gendered relationships are always implicated.
This study establishes an interpretive framework for historical landscape studies by exploring a specific suburban area in Brisbane and its changing landscape from European colonisation to the present day.